Know your chest size, waist size and the correlation between the two - something tailors refer to as the 'drop'. For example, a 40-inch chest and 34-inch waist makes you a 'drop 6'. The three most common 'drops' correspond to suit fits: drop 6/regular fit, drop 7/slim fit and drop 8/skinny fit. When buying online, follow the size and fit guide; it should explain whether a certain brand fits true to size or whether to size up or down.
A single-breasted, two-button suit is the style most widely worn, mainly because it's comfortable and suits a variety of body shapes. Personally, I find that a one-button can look and feel dressier, working well for a wedding or cocktail party. Currently, double-breasted suits are being revisited and can look great as long as they fit well and the jackets are shorter in length than the ones worn in the Eighties. You might want to check if the trousers have belt loops or side fasteners.
For a suit you're going to wear a lot, go for something made from a durable fabric, like 100 per cent Pure New Wool, and in an inconspicuous shade of dark blue or grey - they'll look smart but won't give you away should you wear it every week. A silk or cashmere blend is best kept for special occasions or less frequent wear.
If you are in the market for a new suit then sourcing a good, reliable alterations tailor or dry cleaner will be useful, as most suits will arrive with unfinished trouser hems and a few may require additional tweaks on areas such as the sleeves or shoulders (and you may opt for turn-ups on your trousers; these look better on slimmer cuts). Trousers will have a generous amount of 'seam allowance' meaning that should you need to loosen the fit, you can. Check the Address Book in our Style Directory for tailors recommended by Style Council members.
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